German native Thomas Bücker's repertoire has been characterized by the fine craft of sampling. Beginning in the late-'90s, he constructed a hyperactive brand of IDM under the alias Jean-Michel. Months before the release of his 30 Sec. split with Quappen (an album of 60 30-second tracks evenly divided between the two projects) Bücker was within reach of larger appeal with a contribution to the Björk Army of Me remix album, attached to the name Beats Beyond which offered a similar approach. Other than being the URL for his online directory, the name has since never been used, and Jean-Michel albums continued to surface.
A year before Jean-Michel's latest album came the the eponymous debut of Bersarin Quartett, a project that was remarkably unalike his back catalog. Though not accompanied by another three, Bücker used his intent sampling comprehension to repurpose excerpts of classical music and elaborate upon them with subtle touches of electronics. The result of Bersarin Quartett was a spatial breeding ground for ambient, chamber music, and downtempo. As outstanding as it was, it didn't come completely out of left-field, for it garnered apt comparisons to the minimal techno of Murcof and the "nu jazz" tag often ascribed to his Denovali labelmates in the Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble.
On his second outing as Bersarin Quartett, Bücker has honed the venture even further, leaning more closely to ambient and neo-classical than ever before. Murmuring keys and dramatic string wells underlie the introductory "Niemals zurück" as they're punctuated by percussive echos and a striding snare. Most reflective of preceding IDM efforts is "Der Mond, der Schnee und Du", which is driven by an elastic foundation of cymbal reversals and sunken bass. A warm phrase drifts on a bed of hiss and dissipates throughout "Hier und jetzt", towards its close led by a splashy rhythm. The curtain closes with the blissful climax of "Nichts Ist Wie Vorher", adorned with moving strings, glacial drums, and whistling keyboards. The flow of Bücker's compositions is meticulous, not mechanical.
For its length, II has absorbed pacing. Each of its 13 tracks pensively develop, but no apex is alike another. "Zum Greifen nah" quivers and sparkles, while the ascending chords of "Im Glanze des Kometen" are guided by chasmal frequencies and ghostly pulses. Since the days of Jean-Michel, Bücker has summoned himself to weave stirring soundscapes together with fewer materials. Bersarin Quartett expanding upon its vast sound feels inconceivable, but II reaches even loftier planes of opulent euphoria.
[Bersarin Quartett Website]
[Buy II from Denovali Records]